Walabot DIY review

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I have been doing home improvement projects for decades now. I lost count years ago, but the total number has to be in the hundreds of all shapes, sizes and effort levels. Many times the construction involved tearing into something with only some idea what I was to find. Well, Walabot promises the DIY can alleviate this problem. The DIY is supposedly able to see thru materials and into walls up to four inches thick.  When Julie told me about this device my immediate thought was “pure snake oil” but I agreed to see if the Walabot DIY really does work magic. So, let’s see how it goes…

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The Walabot DIY is engineered to connect to your smartphone and “see” inside the walls of your house, office or any surface covered in drywall or concrete. The sensor array can penetrate up to 4 inches into walls and locate studs, plastic and metal pipes, and electrical wiring. The Walabot DIY app gives you a visual representation of what it senses behind your drywall, tile, and/or concrete board.

What’s in the box?

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  • Walabot DIY sensor
  • microUSB cable
  • Magnetic disc
  • Protective plastic sheet
  • Manual/instructions

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The Walabot DIY sensor and electronics are encased in black plastic and is approximately the footprint of today’s larger smartphones but is about twice as thick. Its form factor is very similar to a standard backup battery. The back of the DIY sensor has a circular magnet embedded into the plastic enabling the device to stick to the back of your Android smartphone. The magnetic connection between the sensor and metal disc could be stronger. The whole time I was using the mated devices it felt like the two could potentially fall apart.

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There is a microUSB and a USB 3.0 engineered into one of the bottom end of the DIY device.

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Oddly enough, the only operational port on the DIY device is the microUSB part of the USB 3.0 port. Your smartphone powers the DIY via microUSB cable. Once connected, the Walabot smartphone app walks you through the setup process the first time you use it.

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Currently the list of compatible devices is somewhat limited, as of the writing of this review, the DIY only works with Android smartphones running Lollipop, Marshmallow, and Nougat with microUSB. Though as noted on the Walabot website the Note 7 and LG G4 are not supported. Julie tried using the DIY with her Nexus 6p and an adaptor to connect the two…it did not work.

Based on their website, it appears Walabot is working on a solution for iPhone users. Along with an iOS app, it would most likely require a specialized microUSB to Lightning cable to power the unit and communicate with your iPhone.

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Here is the app interface you see when using the Walabot. You need to calibrate the device before every use. You can toggle between drywall and concrete depending which surface you are trying to see into. You can also switch the interface to see the raw data (seen above) or “pipe” view depending on what you’re trying to see. The app is also able to take snapshots of the screen in operation. The upper right hand graphic affirms the sensor and smartphone are communicating. Below that a depth gauge is showing how deep into the wall the cable, pipe, or stud is.

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I tried the Walabot all around the house but ultimately ended up in one of our bathrooms that does a good job illustrating electrical, wood stud, and PEX water pipe beneath both drywall and concrete/tile all within a compact area.

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This is what the DIY shows me when looking at electrical wiring running along a wood stud sitting behind 5/8″ drywall in both data and pipe views.

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This is what the DIY shows me when looking at a classic wood 2 by 4 stud behind 5/8″ drywall.

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This is what the DIY shows me when looking at PEX plastic water piping behind 1/2″ Hardieboard and ceramic tile.

If you watch this video from the Walabot website, it shows how to get it operational and how it is suppose to operate.

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I hate to say it, but I find the Walabot DIY a clumsy, mediocre electronic stud finder that requires a semi-dedicated Android smartphone to work with the results not worth the effort. A $20-30 electronic stud finder requires no prep time or hassle to get the job done. I grant you the Walabot DIY can locate water pipes and electrical wiring but anyone with any experience at all would know the approximate location of either in a bust into a wall or demolition type of situation. The DIY is normally $249 but is currently on sale for $199…either way, it’s a relatively expensive (niche) tool that a homeowner may use a handful of times or a professional might never need.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Walabot. Please visit their site for more info and to order.

Some of our links in posts like this one are affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission on purchases at no cost to you.
 

Product Information

Price:$249 (currently on sale for $199)
Manufacturer:Walabot
Requirements:
  • Android device with microUSB port
Pros:
  • Can see behind drywall or concrete board
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Mediocre results
  • Requires Android smartphone w/microUSB port
  • No iOS/iPhone support

40 thoughts on “Walabot DIY review”




  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Trying to return this device as i cannot see any practicle use. Cannot find any info on how to exercise their 14 day money back gaureentee. Cannot find any customer service info or phone number for them on line or on their website. Kinda hard to return it if they don’t give you any info or have the info on their website. Starting to feel scammed

    1. “ALL” androids do not work with this. Have waited four business days for a return call to return the Walabot that I ordered for my husband. Now, the APP isn’t coming up at all in the Playstore. Very suspicious. Need Customer Service!!!!! I’m feeling scammed, too. There is always the Better Business Bureau…looks like I’ll have to report.

      1. Ronald Cordle

        Why not a phone number. I was thinking about buying one but if I have a problem with something I ordered I want to be able to speak to someone

  3. Thank You Julie Strietelmeier for anything that you can do. Such a shame that companies resort to this type of tactic.

  4. Don’t deal with these people, they have no customer support. I purchased two and needed to return one, I have sent emails and FB messages with no response. There is no phone number listed anywhere. Buyer beware.

    1. Hi Dennis –
      I reached out to you via the comments section on Digital Trends, which was flagged to me by their editor. Can you please email me directly at vayyar (at) mercuryglobalpartners (dot) com so I can try to help you? My firm is the PR agency of record for Vayyar and I want to help resolve this situation to a good outcome for you. I’ve already reached out to the company’s CEO and Marketing Director.

      Hi Marvin – I’m also happy to help resolve your situation. Please email me directly at the aforementioned email so I can help you directly.

      Kind regards – Mindy

      1. Looks like I may have jumped the gun on bad mouthing Walabot. I did not see the contact link on thier website. Once I contacted them they responded immediatly, and have already processed my refund. I was contacted by via email and they even called to discuss the problem. They seemed genuinely concerned, and wanted input on how they could improve their customer support. Anyone looking for a refund should go to walabot.com/refund or email them at support@walabot.com

  5. I purchased one. I tried it, out and it does work, but it isn’t as good as one would like. It is as usefully as any other stud finder is. I don’t see that it is much better, and the price doesn’t justify the results.

    My problem with the unit is that it heats the phone (Samsung Galaxy G7) up to a dangerous temperature. After 5 minutes my phone is getting too hot. The support team sent me a second unit, and my phone was getting to hot again. I didn’t let my phone get as hot this time. I’m not sure if it was related but my SIM card had to be replaced a couple days after my first use of the Walabot. The heat may have done damage.

    I can’t say it was worth the money. Wish it wasn’t so.

    1. Carl,
      I am a NON-DEGREED Engineer 55 years old. Trust me, save your hard owned money, you and look at the underside of the stairs and place hard wood shims or HDPE (High Density Poly Ethelyn) wedges like the ones used installing toilet bowls to a floor while maintaining the wax seal space. You also can pull the carpet up and use what are called ring-shank finishing nails if you use a punch to get it slightly below the flush line of your carpet and hold those stps! My friend and I fix up old homes (I literally work for NOTHING.) Anyway, he goes with wood screws and a Phillip’s head to seat the steps treads to the stair frame two by eights, one pair of screws in the center board and one on the same step outside boards for a total of six wood screws per step. If it were my steps I would go the exra mile to get each and every squeak out, except for the ones at the bottom of stairs, when your kids are teenagers, you will be glad you left them! lol
      Bless you, hope this helps. Clifton

    2. Oh yea, I almost forgot, predrilling of a wood steel bit that is the size of the wood screw shank only (the center without the screw thread) and NOT the threads is always a great idea to assure that your screw threads have full engagement of the screw flight and depth but, do not bore the diameter hole too large, least you really get no mechanical advantage (grip).I would do what’s called counter-sink the area where the screw head it considered by drilling out the step surface just enough to assure there will be no screw head protrusion at the point of the steps tread surface and thus prevent any contact with the bare foot ever. Not to be confused with the Bear foot.
      If you do decide to go with the ring shanks you want to consider getting some wood glue. I like a certain brand simply because its a brand that I can identify with as a species. Ya know the one that occasionally pounds his chest while climbing a skyscraper with a hot screaming blonde in one hand?

    3. you are going to have you lift the carpet in the area of the squeak and pull back the pad(or cut it open) you will see where the joists are by the nails put a screw beside the nail and your done if you have to get a carpet installer to put it back it should not be expensive all the work is done his helper could do it .probably do it yourself no cutting just a slight bunt with the knee kicker. if the carpet has to be opened up you may have to call a installer but that should not be $$$ either you do all the work just shop around for a cheep installer maybe $50 i have been doing this for 40 years

  6. I just got my Walabot today. I set it up as instructed and began to use it. First thing I noticed was that the magnet sticks good, how ever the phone flops and spins if you are not holding both units at the same time. I saw the studs just fine in picture mode and then a pipe/wire that must be in a tangle mode in my wall because it doesn’t follow the “line” that this pipe/wire is ran in the wall. The raw imagine mode shows the red splotch on the screen even if you are not against a wall. I put my hand over the sensor to see if it “picks up critters” and all I saw was the red splotch and a green spot that was my fingers (“Critter” mode I’m not so sure of). While I was using it for testing, less than 5 minutes, My phone ( Samsung Galaxy S7) got really hot! Obviously the Walabot uses a lot of phone power to work. I had to detach it and let it cool off. When I was re-testing it, my phone just went dead. Completely dead! I tried to turn it on but it would not. I plugged my phone into the charger and that was the only way it would come back on. When I plugged it in, it said I had 48% battery left. So looks like the Walabot will only work if you have 50% or more battery power. So far not impressed! As soon as my phone charges, I will try again. I will make close observations then will post my review on Yelp and Facebook.

  7. hi there i’m an electric engineer and i want to ask somebody about if it show he pipe and the wire .. can i see the cable in the wall only or can i see it in the ground

    thanks

  8. Would this work with the zte zmax pro that uses a type c charging cable similar to iPhone in that it is able to plug in either way, not like a regular android with the slanted edges and only one way to plug it in.

  9. Dis-Satisfied and Warning!

    Does not go through older plaster/fibreboard walls.
    And if you are not in US cost 50% more to get it!!

  10. This thing isn’t at all what I thought! And good luck trying to get a refund, I sent it back with the shipping label they sent me 6 weeks ago and still no refund. No phone number and there web site just gives me run a round. Calling Better Business Bureau

  11. I think its a scam too. Good idea but it doesn’t work. I have an Android Galaxy 6 and i agree it doesn’t work, just a messy fussy picture. Well there are a lot of people who feel the same way, no way to refund, get tech support, or talk to a live human being. Scam/junk written all over this.

  12. I’m still trying to figure out how to return this thing! They never sent me an order confirmation, so I cant fill in the order number on the return form. Can anybody out there help me?

  13. As a carpenter/builder experienced in all facets of renovation, I could see quote easily this device would never work as advertised and to a person like me is an expensive product o would use once and throw it away. A cheap stud detector will tell you where studs and noggins are( though I use the knock on the wall device) pipes are normally in the obvious places. Just another device to take your money for no real gain. Ppl buying this before looking at reviews or asking a professionals advice are too gullible AMD liable to loose their money

      1. so if you never tried it how do you know it will never work. for you yes. since you see things befor the wall goes up. but your guessing on a house you did not work on . were everything is. you probably say opp:s it should be there . because as an experienced carpenter/builder. it should be their! don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. unless your a mind reader.

    1. Was thinking this too. Got mine today and I think there is some kind of Hardie board on the garage wall. I tried a couple things. But after trying this in a new home they are building down the street, I figured out that the Hardie board was probably installed over some pressed board and if you calibrate to a normal wall (or maybe some plywood), then try it over the plaster board, then go slow, then it works…. and you should use the expert icon to zero in on it.

  14. I bought one last week and i followed the instructions and video and hooked up to my samsung s8 phone. Works perfect for me. I go slow and hold it straight up and down like calabrate screen shows. Works perfict. I used it on a concrete 1 foot thick old at&t building to find rebar and conduit in walls. Worked like a charm. It does run down the battery in phone faster that
    Phone alone, but when drilling through 1 foot concrete with 3 inch drill, well worth it!

  15. The Walabot is truly a good device!! IF – IF you have a decent – non-cheap Android phone – not an off brand – something like a Samsung J7 or S7 work great! Walabot customer service are good responsive folks – gave me a list of phones that do and don’t work – not all inclusive but there are too many off brand phones out there to list. I got a Samsung un-locked international Samsung fancy dual sim card J7 for about $200 that works great.

  16. Walabot works great! BUT you must understand that it does NOT work with I-Phones or
    with off brand cheap phones – like I had a perfectly good off-brand smart phone that would not even download the app. SO read their website for a partial list of phones it DOES NOT work with – but it does work great with my Samsung S7, J7 and S8. Their customer service is good – and answers within a day – they can probably tell you if your phone will work. BUT – if it doesn’t work right off with your phone – try turning off the WIFI and put it in AIRPLANE mode.

  17. Does anyone know if the Walabot will see the roof rafters underneath the roof plywood deck and a layer of asphalt shingles?

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